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  • Chris Peoples

First-Person: Midwest Leadership Summit

ADRIAN – It can be difficult to leave the joys of family and the obligations of ministry for three days. It is possible that you might wonder if there is any real benefit to attending this leadership summit or any other conference. Humbly, I suggest there is great benefit to attending the Midwest Leadership Summit.


My takeaways had two common themes that have been personal prayer items throughout the past few months. First, how do we saturate the community with the gospel? Second, how do we fully depend on prayer as a congregation? God was gracious to provide insights for both themes.

The Midwest Leadership Summit is a collective of nine Baptist state conventions. Pastors and church leaders from twelve states gather in Springfield, Illinois to be refreshed, renewed, edified, and encouraged as they strive to lead their churches well. There are main session speakers. There are ministry testimonies. There are breakout sessions. There are late night conversations. There are meals with other Michigan church leaders. There is prayer, worship, and a replenishing of your soul.


Is it possible to pack all of that into three days? Yes, and so much more.


On Tuesday evening, Trevin Wax spoke about a few worldview aspects of our culture. I was reminded to allow the gospel to speak for itself. Wax said, “The gospel helps us get beyond the emotions of guilt and shame.” I also wrote down, the gospel is GOOD NEWS, provides rest, fills the gaps, feeds the soul, redirects the lies, and points to the truth.  

On Wednesday evening, Vance Pittman reminded us that God invites churches into His activity FOR God’s glory.


On Thursday morning, Jared Wilson taught from Romans 15. He said, “Our church must be impacted by the gospel before our church impacts the community with the gospel.” He continued by giving six proofs that the gospel impacts our church.

The breakout sessions were the focus of Wednesday. Those in attendance chose from sixty sessions in ten categories of ministry. The sessions were led by pastors and ministry leaders who live in trenches, just like you and me. They are familiar with the toil and the weight that we carry in ministry.


Writing space will not allow me to share from each of the breakouts, so I will give three highlights.

Leading From Your Knees reminded me that God always pursues our relationship. When I pray, I ought to ask him to remove the scales of sin, open the heavens and show me his glory.

From Surviving To Thriving reminded me to protect time for rest by establishing biblical rhythms.

Lastly, I would like to share the words of a fellow pastor named Aaron. While Aaron was telling the story of his church plant, he said, “God loves to give big vision. Ask him for it and communicate it well.”


Fellow church leaders, you are dearly loved, and your efforts are seen! All of us need the reminders that come from the Midwest Leadership Summit. They will fill you up and prepare you for another year of ministry. The archived videos can be viewed at



Chris Peoples serves as the lead pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Adrian, Michigan. He has been married to Bridget for twenty-five years. They have four children.


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